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How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Washington, D.C.

Diesel mechanics are highly trained, specialized automotive professionals with a good potential for earning and career advancement. If you enjoy doing your own vehicle repairs or working with tools and machines, becoming a diesel mechanic might be a good career choice for you.

Diesel engines are used in many industries throughout the country, as they are the only engines capable of producing the power needed to move heavy equipment such as large transportation vehicles, construction equipment, farming equipment and other heavy-duty vehicles. Diesel mechanics possess the specialized knowledge and abilities to keep these engines and related systems functioning properly.

Those working in the field should expect to use pneumatic tools, welding equipment, various diagnostic software and many types of power tools. Mechanics work in a fast-paced environment, possess a good working knowledge of engine theory and are able to apply it to troubleshoot problems and make the repairs needed to keep diesel engines running.

District of Columbia Requirements for Diesel Mechanics

There is no licensing requirement for diesel mechanics in the District of Columbia, nor is there an oversight board for mechanics within the city. Those wishing to pursue this career will need a high school diploma or equivalent prior to pursuing training. Once acquired, advanced training can be completed either on the job or through a reputable training program. Mechanics who wish to increase their opportunities should also seek advanced certification as soon as they qualify to test for it.

Training Programs for Diesel Mechanics in Washington, D.C.

There are no specific training programs in the District of Columbia for diesel mechanics; however, programs do exist in the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia. It is also possible for candidates to become qualified through on-the-job training or apprenticeship. One possible program through which to seek such training is Job Corps, a program for 16- to 24-year-olds, which is administered by the United States Department of Labor. Job Corps has two locations in Washington, D.C.

Additional Certifications

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), established in 1979, offers various certifications for automotive professionals. An industry standard, ASE certification is required by many employers and contractors. Acquiring certification requires a minimal amount of work experience and the ability to take and pass an exam. ASE certification offers tangible proof of automotive expertise to potential employers and to those seeking repair services.

Career Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to date from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Washington, D.C. was among the top-paying areas for diesel mechanics in the United States. They reported an average annual income of $60,730 in 2018, with an average hourly wage of $29.20, both well above the national average for this field.

Career growth potential also looks good. According to data compiled by Career One Stop, the job field is projected to grow by 9.1 percent from the years 2016 to 2026. All in all, diesel mechanics appear to have very good opportunities and earning potential within the District of Columbia.

Working in the District of Columbia

Due to the need for diesel engines in so many industries, diesel mechanics have a large variety of opportunities to choose from in many different sectors, both public and private. According to data from BLS, the industries with the highest level of employment for diesel mechanics are truck transportation, automotive repair and maintenance, local government, motor vehicle parts and supplies merchant wholesalers, and automotive equipment rental and leasing businesses.

A few potential employers in Washington, D.C. include Fedex Express, Penrose Management Company, Magnolia Companies, Apollo Video Technology, DaVita and Tradesmen International, Inc.